How to Quickly Select Columns, Rows and Ranges in Excel Tables
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 24, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)
There are many different shortcuts for selecting elements in Microsoft Excel tables. You can use shortcuts to select an entire table, an entire row, an entire column or ranges in tables.
Keep in mind that a table in Excel is created by converting a data set to a table. It is not simply data entered in columns and rows. Tables are one of Excel's most important tools and a table is, essentially, a dynamic named range.
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Data that is going to be converted into an Excel table should:
- Be entered in columns and rows with column headings in the first row and similar data entered in the rows below
- Have unique column headings
- Have no merged cells
It's also a good idea to remove blank columns and blank rows.
You can convert a data set to a table in 3 ways:
- Click in the data set and then click the Home tab in the Ribbon. Click Format as Table in the Styles group and click a style in the gallery. In the dialog box that appears, ensure My table has headers is checked and click OK.
- Click in the data set and then click the Insert tab in the Ribbon. Click Table in the Tables group. In the dialog box that appears, ensure My table has headers is checked and click OK.
- Click in the data set and then press Ctrl + T. In the dialog box that appears, ensure My table has headers is checked and click OK.
Once your data set has been converted to a table, you can use the following shortcuts.
Selecting a table using a mouse
To select a table, move your mouse over the top left corner of the table until a diagonal arrow appears:
Click the top left corner of the table once to select the table data.
Click the top left corner of the table twice to select the table including the table headers.
Selecting a table using a keyboard
To select an entire table, select any cell in the table and press Ctrl + A to select the table data.
To select an entire table including the header row, select any cell in the table and then press Ctrl + A twice.
You can also select the first cell of the table and then press Ctrl + Shift + right arrow and then press Ctrl + Shift + down arrow.
Selecting a column using a mouse
To select a column in a table, move the cursor to the top of a table column header until a down arrow appears:
Click the top edge of the table column header once to select the table column data.
Click the top edge of the table column header twice to select the entire table column including the header.
Selecting a column using a keyboard
To select a column, select any cell in a table column and press Ctrl + Spacebar to select the table column data.
Press Ctrl + Spacebar twice to select the table column data and header.
You can also select the first cell in the table column and then press Ctrl + Shift + down arrow.
Selecting a row or rows using a mouse
To select a row in a table, move the cursor to the left border of the table row until a right-pointing arrow appears:
Click to select the current row or drag up to down to select multiple rows.
You can also click the first cell in the table row and then press Ctrl + Shift + right arrow to select the row.
Selecting rows using a mouse and keyboard
To select multiple contiguous rows, move the cursor to the left border of the first row of the table until it changes into a right-pointing selection arrow and then click to select the row. Press Shift and click with the selection arrow on the last row you want to select.
To select multiple non-contiguous rows, move the cursor to the left border of the first table row until it changes into a right-pointing selection arrow and then click to select the row. Press Ctrl and click with the selection arrow on subsequent rows.
Selecting a row or rows using a keyboard
To select a row in a table, select any cell in the row and press Shift + Spacebar once.
You can also select the first cell in a row and press Ctrl + Shift + right arrow.
If you want to select rows below the selected row, press Shift + down arrow.
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